Going Overland (Part Tres)

Going Overland (Part Tres)

May 28, 2019 0 By AJ

Back on Track

Today’s 9 kilometre walk leads us from Pelion Hut up a steady incline through a rain forested hike to Pelion Gap and one of the highlights on the Overland Track, Tasmania’s highest mountain, Mt Ossa, followed by a decent to Kia Ora Hut.

Missed part deux? Read it here

We expect the weather to change for the worse. The grey skies are foreboding as we depart Pelion in our rain gear. Like the Last Boy Scout, we come prepared.

Drizzle comes down within the first few hundred metres. The canopy of the forest protects us from the full effect. The wet weather attire is a good choice.

Crossing the bridges we see the river rushing with vibrant energy beneath.

As we have consistently done, we find the going slow as we walk up the twisted and slippery root forest floor.

Overland web root tracks
The roots weave a tangled slippery web.

Sections of track are now small creeks as we step through shallow running water and muddied forest. Deep in the forest, the different shades of rainforest green are pretty. A full Derwent pastel pencil set would struggle to cover the range of greens on display.

Overland dark and deep
Deep in the dark forest there are no sounds to hear.

Image courtesy of Scott Palin.

We are now getting passed by other walkers who set out after us. This whole going uphill is not our forte. I’m breathing hard. As far as I can tell, the rain has eased.

We are getting closer to Pelion Gap.

I am amazed that everything is quiet. There are no sounds to hear.

This silence is only broken when we start making conversation and occasionally break out in TV theme songs and ad jingles.

Pelion Gap and Mt Ossa

Raindrops are falling on our heads as we reach Pelion’s Gap at 11.30. The wind bites hard here in the exposed gap where the tracks depart to Pelion East and Mt Ossa. 

Overland Pelion Gap
Pelion Gap: The fork in the road Image courtesy of Tim Edwards.

This is as high as we will go today. We don’t have it in us to scramble to the summit of Mt Ossa.

Reaching the summit and being on top of Tasmania was a big part of my goal for this adventure. Reality bites.

We can see Ossa but Pelion East is completely blanketed by the low cloud. The distant figures of the private walking group can be seen heading up the track to Mt Ossa. I don’t know what they’ll get to see, but good luck to them reaching the top.

It’s time to roll on down from the Gap through a section called Pinestone Valley and get out of this damn wind.

The grand scale of Ossa
Taking a peak at Mt Ossa

We get lucky with a brief break in the weather and cloud cover as we get decent views looking back at Mt Ossa and Cathedral Mountain to the left as we walk down into the valley.

Close up of Ossa.

Image courtesy of Stewart Peacock.

Finding a dry spot for lunch is difficult in the narrow and wet forest track. The rest of the day becomes a cold and rain battered slog to Kia Ora Hut. 

Kia Ora

We have a false hut sighting. It is the more luxurious private tour hut we see to the left of the track. Not Kia Ora.

The temperature is getting really cold as we arrive at Kia Ora Hut. The foyer is filled with wet packs, muddy boots and condensation.

The resident hut ranger gives a 4.30 weather announcement of snow, high winds, rain and more wind for the next couple of days and nights. Things on the Overland are about to get wild!

This weather prediction would make you determined to get comfortable in your hut, right?

Not for some curious walkers from Geelong who decide it’s the prime time to camp out in Tasmanian snow. They go and set up their tents hoping for overnight snow fall.

Dinner is a different fare for us tonight. Dad’s homemade delights are over. Tonight, we  are testing out Backcountry beef curry. On a practice walk tasting of the vegetable stir fry things didn’t end up too well. Happy to say this turned out alright. It was quite edible. 

Lights out at Kia Ora Hut.

Recap Going Overland:

Read about Ronny Creek to Windermere Hut

Read about Windermere to Pelion Hut